Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was one of the most influential titles of its time and one of the most memorable Star Wars games. While not perfect, the game succeeded in being incredibly engaging by offering a compelling plot and highly interesting characters. Now that developer Aspyr has released a new Switch version, the game is now available for nostalgic fans and newcomers. However, whether or not the port is a worthy one is a highly debatable topic.
A New Perspective
The game’s story takes place between Episodes III and IV. It follows a young boy who, Darth Vader, takes on as an apprentice one day after eliminating multiple Jedi soldiers, including your father. The game follows the apprentice’s journey following Darth Vader’s commands to eliminate several Jedi masters, many of whom are in-hiding after Order 66. While the game starts off slow and simple, it quickly progresses and gets interesting as more characters are highlighted and the stakes rise. The voice cast (especially Sam Witwer as the apprentice/ Starkiller) also put up excellent performances portraying the many interesting characters.
The gameplay in The Force Unleashed is its most entertaining aspect. However, I should note that this port is more or less the same as the Nintendo Wii version so the experience with each version will vastly differ. In contrast to the story, this element starts out strong by putting players in the shoes of a decently leveled character. Players will move from level to level, cutting down stormtroopers, droids, and other enemy types with their lightsaber while simultaneously using the myriad of powerful abilities available to them. These abilities include Force Push, which, as the name suggests, lets players use the Force to push enemies into each other or off ledges. Force Grip can be used to grab and toss individual soldiers and enemies into TIE fighters and other miscellaneous ships and objects; Force Repulse is one of the coolest abilities as it’s basically a massive AOE attack that sends enemies surrounding you flying, a skill I often found useful.
LightSaber Toss is also a neat ability that lets players turn their lightsaber into a projectile. While it is fun to use, I never found it very effective, especially against larger enemies, as you’ll always have to aim precisely. However, my favorite ability is Force Lightning, which is a powerful ability that does heavy damage to enemies and looks incredibly cool.
The game does a good enough job of implementing these skills to make you feel like a badass, especially in the latter half of the game as you mow down enemies left and right. Each skill can be leveled up right from the get-go once you’ve acquired enough points, and many of them can be quickly and easily maxed out from the start if you’re diligent enough. The upgrade system is also incredibly simple, albeit a bit rudimentary. Players can also improve their lightsabers with various gameplay upgrades, all focused on a particular ability and can change their lightsaber color by picking up crystals.
Pros and Cons
However, my favorite part of customization is the various outfits you unlock as you progress through the story. Each of these is incredibly cool and dynamic in its own way. Unfortunately, the Switch port doesn’t include the DLC outfits, but those available in the base game are great.
However, with all the good that comes with The Force Unleashed comes some bad and annoying elements. Some of which are the several tedious enemies, which are usually the larger ones that absorb all your attacks and spam you with theirs without giving you time to fight back, making for an incredibly frustrating ordeal. I also often struggled with the Force Grab ability as it was always a struggle to get items or enemies to move the way you want to. Aside from that, while the game has some well-crafted levels with superb art direction, many of these areas are repeated throughout the game and, unfortunately, also incredibly linear, so exploring them is never really satisfying.
While not as big an issue as my previous points, it’s also worth mentioning that the Switch port doesn’t come with all the DLCs included, and with no current way of getting these items, Switch players are essentially left with the short end of the stick.
Visuals & Performance
Visually, the Switch port is extremely lacking. Because this is a port of the Nintendo Wii version it’s no surprise that the UI, character models, and object models are really dull and borderline archaic which I suppose is good for the Switch’s processing power.
Performance-wise, the Switch port is stable and runs well. I thankfully didn’t encounter any issues with lags, glitches, long load times, or frame rate dips, and the resolution is a stable 1080p Docked and 720p undocked, although I personally played undocked as I thought it looked better. While testing the motion control feature the port comes included with, I found that it worked most times but proved to be an unnecessary hassle other times.
Overall, while the visuals are lacking and some content isn’t included, I still enjoyed my experience reliving my memories with the game. The story is still as compelling as ever and the gameplay is still highly engaging. And with the game’s reasonable asking price of $20, I believe it’s worth it for fans to take a chance on.
Have you played Star Wars: Force Unleashed? What do you think of our review? Let BagoGames know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Star Wars: Force Unleashed
- Compelling story and characters
- Nice Gameplay
- Dated visuals
- Some gameplay issues